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December 14, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The recent decision by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to prohibit onion exports until March 2024, along with the revised stock limits for wheat, reflects the government’s strategic measures to address challenges in the domestic market. This move aims to ensure price control, manage scarcity, and enhance food security. Let’s delve into the key reasons behind the export ban on onions and the imposition of stock limits on wheat.

Onion Export Ban: A Strategic Move

Price Control Measures:

Minimum Export Price (MEP) and Export Duty: The government had earlier imposed an MEP of USD 800 per tonne and a 40% export duty on onions to stabilize prices.

Volatility Mitigation: Onions historically experience price fluctuations; the export ban is a proactive step to prevent unpredictable surges in the domestic market.

Addressing Scarcity:

Depletion of Stocks: The early exhaustion of rabi season stocks and the expected decline in kharif 2023 output have contributed to a supply shortage.

Domestic Priority: By restricting exports, the government ensures that available onion supplies are prioritized for meeting domestic demand, mitigating scarcity concerns.

Ensuring Food Security:

Staple Food Item: Onions are integral to Indian cuisine, and any scarcity could impact food security.

Accessible and Affordable: The export ban safeguards the population’s access to this essential food item, preventing shortages and ensuring affordability.

Key Facts About Onions:

Global Significance: Onions are globally significant horticultural commodities, valued for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Indian Production: India, the second-largest producer after China, witnesses major cultivation in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.

Wheat Stock Limits: Curbing Hoarding Practices

Preventing Hoarding:

Stricter Stock Limits: The revised stock limit for wheat has been reduced, discouraging hoarding practices by entities involved in wheat stocking.

Fair Distribution: The government aims to prevent artificial scarcity and ensure an equitable distribution of wheat, avoiding imbalances in supply and demand.

Maintaining Food Security:

Addressing Imbalances: Excessive hoarding can lead to imbalances, causing price fluctuations that negatively impact consumers.

Ensuring Availability: Regulating wheat stocks ensures a steady market supply, contributing to national food security by preventing shortages.

Current Scenario of Wheat Distribution:

Global Position: India is the world’s second-largest wheat producer but contributes less than 1% to the global wheat trade.

Major Wheat-Growing States: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Gujarat play pivotal roles in wheat cultivation.

Key Export Destinations (2022-23): Bangladesh, Indonesia, Korea Rep., United Arab Emirates, and Yemen Republic are major destinations for Indian wheat exports.


The government’s decision to ban onion exports and revise stock limits for wheat emerges as a strategic response to prevailing market dynamics. These measures aim to strike a balance between ensuring price stability, preventing scarcity, and maintaining food security, ultimately safeguarding the interests of both producers and consumers in the agricultural landscape.


December 14, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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